For over four years, photographer Mila Teshaieva has documented the transformation of the three former Soviet republics on the shores of the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The battle for control of the region’s vast oil and gas reserves and the search for a national identity have led to far-reaching changes for the population, the environment and general social values. Teshaieva’s images reveal an atmosphere of insecurity, where people pin their hopes and expectations on a transformation whose direction remains uncertain. The photos leave the viewer with unanswered questions as to the relationship between the state and private identity, the ties between past, present and future, and how to pinpoint the boundary between a region’s rise or fall.
Mila Teshaieva (b. 1974 in Ukraine) lives today in Berlin. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards – including the Prix de la Photographie Paris, the Humanistic Prize of Phodar Biennal, the NPPA Best of Photojournalism and the PDN Photo Annual 2013 – and has been exhibited at galleries and festivals across Europe. Teshaieva is the winner of Photolucida’s Critical Mass Book Award 2012, which made the publication of this photo book possible.
Texts by Christoph Moeskes, Maya Iskenderova, Mila Teshaieva